If you’ve been to an interview, you understand the mix of emotions everyone feels. You’re super thrilled to be there, but also super stressed to make the best impression. An exciting new opportunity could lie on the other side of the day, but first, you’ve got to showcase your best self and why you would be the best person for that opportunity. Preparation and planning ensure that you are ready to dazzle in any interview situation! These interview essentials that I will be sharing with you today will help take your interview to the next level!
Interested? Keep reading below!
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Your Brand Package
When you walk into an interview, the one main thing you’re trying to do is sell to your interviewer why you should be their next hire. Everyone has a brand and we use this brand to represent ourselves. Here are a few branding essentials to take with you on your next interview:
Yes, you’ve submitted your resume to them already. Yes, they most likely have a copy on hand. And yes, you still have to bring a pile of extra resumes! For one thing, you never know if they printed it or not. For another, you never know how many people will be in that interviewing room. Splurge for thicker paper so no rips or wrinkles will affect your resume presence.
Whether you’re an art, science, or finance major, odds are you have some type of portfolio. Ideally, you’ve got an iPad on hand and stocked with your portfolio of great work. A portfolio can be anything from scientific journals you’ve co-authored and data behind it, graphs showing how your project drove revenue increases for the company, or any written or visual pieces. Remember to be creative and keep it visually clean and easy to go through! With all kinds of tools to design something relevant, everyone should have some version of a work portfolio.
Business cards are a valuable addition to your networking toolkit. Interviews can sometimes include small panels or tables with potential future colleagues. Although they may already have your resume, a calling card is the perfect way to reinforce your personal brand! It provides them with easy ways to contact you and it’s something they can keep with them for easy access. (Note: Do not give a business card with your current role. Provide a neutral contact card with your personal contact information.)
NEW JOB GAME PLAN
Not only should you come prepared to your interview with questions, answers to potential questions, and your brand content package – you should also have a couple of narratives thought out for if you potentially get the job. What would you do in your first 90 days working at this company? What techniques are you knowledgeable in that you can bring to your team?
Research is important for this essential step. Doing a lot of homework a few weeks before the interview is important because if you don’t, someone else will! Review the job description, google the company and learn as much as possible about your potential position to see what aspects you can bring to the job that can set you apart. Using this information will show that you are already thinking ahead and investing time in the possible next steps.
A VERSATILE OUTFIT
Depending on where you are interviewing and the setting of the job, how you dress showcases who you are. In my instance, I interviewed for a position in a research lab. Since I know labs are typically casual- many where sweats or jeans- I dressed in black slacks with a simple sweater on top with comfortable chic loafers. However, since more of us are interviewing in offices, and since you should typically be more formal, a dress and jacket (or slacks and blazer) are a good go-to. Keep in mind that some companies may schedule you for an interview the same day, so being comfortable yet professional is key. Having a versatile outfit that could be worn in multiple different job positions will benefit you.
Want some outfit ideas? Check out my Professional Dress Pinterest board
“SAVE THE DAY” KIT
Interview days can be long and sometimes unpredictable. Keeping the essentials with you – mints, bobby pins, hair tie, medicine, and mini sewing kits- can make your life less stressful for those unforeseen catastrophes! Although these essentials are important to have, remember to make sure to go one step ahead. Do you have all of the interviewers’ phone numbers and emails written down somewhere easily accessible? Multiple routes to the interview site in case of accidents or unforeseen traffic? Thinking through the day and envisioning mini disasters that can happen day of will help you prepare for the actual day.
Whether you get the job (you will!) or not, remember that you are a rockstar! You were prepared and you went above and beyond.
What interview essentials do you bring?